Wednesday, 17 October, 2018

3 scientists awarded Nobel Chemistry Prize for work in evolutionary science

2018 Nobel Prize in chemistry goes to Americans Frances Arnold and George Smith and Britain's Gregory Winter Nobel Prize in chemistry awarded to 'power of evolution'
Guillermo Lane | 06 October, 2018, 16:28

Arnold, the fifth woman to win the chemistry prize, is known for her work on enzymes that has assisted in more environmentally friendly production of pharmaceuticals and other substances and the production renewable fuels.

Sir Greg has been jointly awarded the prize along with Frances Arnold and George Smith for his pioneering work in using phage display for the directed evolution of antibodies, with the aim of producing new pharmaceuticals.

Arnold won for her work conducting the directed evolution of enzymes, proteins that catalyze chemical reactions.

Smith created a process that helped develop new drugs that are now being used to treat cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and inflammatory bowel disease.

Frances Arnold is the fifth woman to win a Nobel Prize in Chemistry; the last female victor was Ada Yonath from Israel, who shared the 2009 award for discoveries in the structure and function of the ribosome - a minute particle involved in the synthesis of proteins in the body.

Smith and Winter also managed to use evolution to the advantage of humankind by developing a technique called phage display.

Antibodies are used in a host of ways to neutralise toxins, counteract autoimmune diseases and tackle spreading cancer. The 77-year-old chemist said his discoveries could not have been made without the earlier work of many others.

Chemistry is the third of this year's Nobel Prizes.

Winter's research relies on phase display for the directed evolution of antibodies, or Y-shaped proteins that attach to infectious viruses and bacteria and let immune cells know they need to ward off an attempted invasion.

Sir Gregory Winter used phage display to produce new pharmaceuticals.

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This was the 110th Nobel Prize awarded for chemistry since 1901.

Frances Arnold, a Caltech professor who serves on the board of directors of Illumina, the influential San Diego life sciences company, has been chosen to share this year's Nobel Prize in chemistry.

He concludes, "Very few research breakthroughs are novel". Winter developed how to harness this method to direct the evolution of new antibodies that could bind to biological targets.

The Nobel Prize in Literature has been postponed because of the institution that chooses the laureate being embroiled in a sexual assault scandal. The academy plans to announce both the 2018 and the 2019 victor next year - although the head of the Nobel Foundation has said the body must fix its tarnished reputation first.

After repeatedly screening and mutating those microbes, she could use them to build a more powerful version of a desired protein.

He's expected to receive $250,000 in prize money.

"It would've been nice if I got the prize like 10 years ago so a whole bunch of grant proposals that didn't get funded probably would've gotten funded", Smith said. Prof. Ada Yonath, who won a Nobel in chemistry in 2009, is a former member of the council.

A trio of physicists - Arthur Ashkin of the US, Gerard Mourou of France and Donna Strickland of Canada - shared the Physics Prize for inventing optical lasers now used in corrective eye surgery and in industry.

- The Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science will be announced Monday in Sweden.

The website of the Nobel Prize points out that numerous people who have won the prize for Chemistry could equally have won the Prize for physics as well.

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